Children's party checklist

From pets and piñatas to clowns and cupcakes, make your party unique

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Activities

Creative or sporty, check out these activites

Sports
International Football Academy’s (04 337 1698) Premier League Package (Dhs1,200 for up to 30 kids aged 3-15) gets you two IFA coaches, an hour of coaching (including tricks, skills, obstacle courses, shooting games and matches) and a footie pack for the birthday child. SNAG golf (04 398 0274) offers interactive golfing games using colourful sticky targets and can even set you up with a two- or three-hole golf course. Dhs2,200 gets you a 90-minute session for up to 20 kids, including all equipment and trainers. Add-ons include caricaturists, face painters and clowns.

Dance
Dancer and teacher, Becky Kerrigan will bring her Disco Dance Dubai party (050 289 6735) to your home, and teach mini movers routines to pop music, including Hannah Montana and High School Musical. Dhs600 for 45 mins teaching and 15 mins of games for over-fours.

Cupcake decorating
Budding bakers will love the cupcake decorating party organised by Me & Riley (050 286 7896) which brings all the bits, including cakes from Bloomingdale’s world-famous Magnolia Bakery. Each child decorates two cupcakes with icing and a selection of six toppings. Dhs650 for 10 kids.

Arty activities
KidzArt (055 222 0129) offers age-appropriate themed party packages where kids get to make their own masterpieces, with all materials and experts provided. Choose from an eye-popping array of activities: from make-your-own aprons, bags or All About Me journals, to collages, scratch art and acrylic painting, as well tons of themes, from Safari Adventure to Race Cars. From Dhs800-1,200 for 12 kids (aged from two).

Talent Coaching
Get an educational one-hour coaching session in a variety of skills with 3 flowers in a bucket (050 398 6612). They can provide a professional coach in football, ballet, choreography, martial arts, and more. Dhs850.


Entertainment

From magic to music, keep kids amused with a party performance

Animal antics
The Animal Care Centre (050 646 7792) can bring 15 pets, everything from hamsters and hedgehogs to green parrots and guinea pigs, to your party for supervisor-led handling. Dhs1,000 per hour (weekends) or Dhs800 (Sun-Wed). Two pet handlers from The Animal Sanctuary & Petting Farm (050 273 0973) can also bring a selection of pets including a Shetland pony for rides, for a Dhs500 donation. For those with giant gardens, Crash-in-Castles hire out camels, ponies and donkeys for rides.

Singing superhero
Surprise your sprog with a tuneful telegram from The Big Moo (04 341 9935), including various characters from Hello Kitty to Spiderman. Dhs400.

Storytelling
3 flowers in a bucket offer Storytelling sessions (Dhs850), which include interactive games, dancing and treasure hunts.

Drumming
For a birthday bash with a ‘bang’, bring Dubai Drums on board. A drum team will get the kids drumming and singing like an African tribe. Dhs50 per child (min 20 kids) per hour. Contact: kidz@dubaidrums.com

Clowns & magicians
Flying Elephant (04 347 9170) has tons of quality entertainers, from clowns (see Bozo on p24) and jugglers to mime artists and magicians. UAE Party Box (050 257 5010) also offers a host of hilarious acts (Dhs900 one hour) or watch tables fly courtesy of Tumble Time’s magician (Dhs550 for 30 minutes, 04 348 8542).

Shows & acts
From an eye-popping fire show (Dhs1,875) to a mesmerising falcon display (Dhs940), contact Crash-in-Castles. Nippers will love being put inside life-size bubbles, with UAE Party Box’s popular bubble show. From jugglers and fire-blowers (Dhs650-750) to interactive puppet shows around princess, jungle or sea life themes (Dhs800 for 30 minutes), get in touch with Tumble Time who can also put on games, facepainting, henna and glitter tattoos, and arts and crafts.


Equipment & Accessories

From bouncy stuff to balloons, we’ve got it covered

Inflatables, games & rides
For four solid hours of jumping and splashing fun, hire inflatables, rides and slides for the garden or pool from Crash-in-Castles. Themed bouncy castles range from Dhs565 to Dhs815, and there’s inflatable laser shooting (Dhs1,500), an obstacle course (Dhs750) and pool inflatables. Game stalls for hire include mini golf and Shoot D’ Ball (from Dhs1,500). The Balloon Lady (04 344 1062) also rents out bouncy castles from a small Dhs350 fortress to the huge Dhs1,000 sea world. Flying Elephant do bouncies too (including an Aladdin-themed one), as well as a mini train for those with huge gardens. Check out Tumble Time for tons of castles and slides, including ball pools, bouncers and waterslides (from Dhs425-700) for four hours. They even have a soft play obstacle course (Dhs450 for four hours).

Furniture and settings
We’re in love with Me & Riley’s unique and oh-so-pretty party décor packages (think low tables, comfy colourful cushions and chic canopies). Using eco-friendly décor, including organic plates made from leftover sugarcane fibre, wooden cutlery and fabric napkins, they have a Dhs850 minimum spend and boast loads of add-on options. 3 flowers in a bucket offer various all-inclusive set-ups including the Celebration Tent (think luxe satin tent) for Dhs950. For a ‘wow’ of a party, Flying Elephant create themed environments, with props, backdrops, décor, sound and even stage sets (think Chocolate Factory or Ice Age). If it’s just basic tiny tables and chairs you’re after, Tumble Time rents place settings from Dhs60 for a four-seater up to Dhs150 for a long table seating eight kids. They’ll also do the decorating for you at an extra charge.

Details
Details make all the difference and Me & Riley’s exciting extras are traditionally bang up to date. Hire a candy floss station (Dhs850), an ice cream sundae station (Dhs350), or a sweetie station. We also love Stan’s Motor Playhouse, a 100 per cent cotton playhouse for Dhs500. 3 flowers in a bucket also offer a Sweet Shoppe (from Dhs2,500) with customised candies, chocs and sweetie bags, as well as a Let’s Pretend Tent, Dhs850, which comes with tons of outfits and accessories for imaginative dress-up. Add the Photo Booth (Dhs850) for some pint-sized posing. Tumble Time will ensure your party’s a sweet success with its rentable popcorn and candy floss machines (Dhs450 each for three hours, with attendant).

Balloons
A party just ain’t a party without balloons. With talented artists on its books, The Balloon Lady, Tumble Time, Flying Elephant and Crash-in-Castles can all fashion together dazzling balloon displays (from archways to characters), with the latter offering a brilliant Balloon Drop of 500 balloons (Dhs2,375). For à la carte balloons, place your order at Party Centre which boasts a big balloon menu (12 sizes, 44 colours); Party Stop, with its spectacular supply of helium balloons, or pick ‘n mix from Tickles & Giggles’ incredible in-store rainbow selection (from Dhs5).


Catering

Try these culinary companies
Healthy and homemade, Lime Tree Café (04 325 6325) combines kids’ party classics like mini cheese burgers and pizza faces with Lime Tree specialities like corn & chedder baked potatoes. The menu offers 13 savoury and nine sweet selections and all choices boast 24 pieces ranging from Dhs80 (24 chocolate crackles) to Dhs145 (24 pots of mini macaroni cheese) and provide plenty of veggie and nut-free options. Marta’s Kitchen (050 379 8002) puts fun into food, with homemade party grub in kid-friendly shapes (think stars, diamonds and even trees) and food basket bites like chicken mini burgers (Dhs35 per basket). Organic Café (04 434 0577) offers all-organic tailored menus (from pasta and pizza to kofta sticks and sausage rolls) and caters to most intolerances. Mum Dharmangi, who runs Sway2theHeart (050 347 7574), will get kids eating their veggies without even realising it with her super-nutritious yet fun party menu featuring snail snacks (stuffed tortillas), carrots in a garden (veggies growing in hummous pots), funny-faced pizzas and peanut butter bubble bees. Prices range from Dhs40-80 per party guest. Get your cupcakes or themed birthday cakes from Sugar Daddy’s Bakery and turn to p61 for more cool cake ideas!

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